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Failure Is Not an Option

Failure Is Not an Option
6 Principles for Making Student Success the ONLY Option

Second Edition

288 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
For our children, for our future: failure is never an option!

How did a tough, "D" school in Brooklyn that was about to be closed down become an "A" school in less than 3 years? How did a large school district in the Midwest use data to drive effective school improvement that led 15 of their 88 schools to make AYP for the first time? How are entire nations like Finland ensuring smooth leadership transition and capacity to sustain student success?

Five years, 200,000 readers, and one national award after Failure Is Not an Option was first published, Alan M. Blankstein has documented how educators have closed gaps, turned schools around, and sustained overall success. With contributions from Pedro A. Noguera, Andy Hargreaves, and Dean Fink, this book outlines the who, what, and how of becoming a high-performing school and learning community, shows how to avoid ten common routes to failure, provides double the resources, includes many new case stories and examples, and offers new emphasis on:

- Diversity
- Assessment for learning
- Intervention and support for students at risk
- Schooling as a community endeavor involving families

The second edition of Failure Is Not an Option tells more than the story—it gives all the specifics, the tools, the insights, and the processes that others have used to ensure that success is the ONLY option
Why Failure Is Not an Option
Courageous Leadership for School Success
10 Common Routes to Failure, and How to Avoid Each
Relational Trust as Foundation for the Learning Community
Principle 1: Common Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals
Principle 2: Ensuring Achievement for All Students—Systems for Prevention and Intervention
Principle 3: Collaborative Teaming Focused on Teaching for Learning
Principle 4: Data-Based Decision Making for Continuous Improvement
Principle 5: Gaining Active Engagement From Family and Community ALAN M BLANKSTEIN and PEDRO A NOGUERA
Principle 6: Building Sustainable Leadership Capacity ALAN M BLANKSTEIN with ANDY HARGREAVES and DEAN FINK

"An overwhelming body of research shows that education change and improvement must come from the inside. Failure Is Not an Option provides a practical road map for improving the climate and culture of schools in ways that are meaningful and enduring. We must be open to new ideas, new strategies, and new opportunities. School transformation is something you do with educators, not to them. This book will show you how."

Dennis Van Roekel, President
National Education Association

"Educational books that engage both head and heart are rare. Failure Is Not an Option is such an exception. It is an authentic and powerful call to action, written in an accessible and utterly compelling way. It reminds us that school failure is not a given and there are ways in which we can make a difference to all young people in all settings. It also underlines that education is more than test scores or grades and that ultimately we are shaping individual futures and life chances. For that alone, it should be on the bookshelf of every educator."

Alma Harris, Professor
University of London

"Alan Blankstein’s Failure Is Not An Option is grounded in moral purpose, offers hope through many real-life examples showing that that purpose can be realized, and inspires courage among educators to do all that is necessary to create schools in which both students and adults thrive."

Dennis Sparks
Thinking Partners

"This passionate and wise book builds on years of collaborative learning, teaching, and leadership. It is filled with understandings as well as many practical suggestions, guidelines, tools, and stories from the field that support the whole child and the whole school community working to effectively for children's healthy development and capacity to learn and to soar."

Jonathan Cohen, President, Center for Social and Emotional Education
Adjunct Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University

"Alan Blankstein provides a compelling framework for improving schools—a framework that will excite, motivate, and sustain itself over time. This is a book to be read again and again."

Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Lillian Radford Distinguished Professor of Education and Leadership
Trinity University

“A book that should be read by every teacher. It establishes in the clearest way possible that teachers must be responsible for learning, not just teaching. Using six powerful principles, Alan Blankstein provides the information teachers need to be able to do this. The book is a wonderful blend of philosophy, theory, and, through numerous vignettes, practical examples of the principles in action. Eliminating failure as an option cannot be achieved on a large scale by teachers acting as individuals; to make ‘failure is not an option’ a reality, teachers must see this as a shared responsibility, and this book shows how it happens now in some places and how it can become the way we operate in all schools."

Ken O'Connor, Educational Consultant
Author of How to Grade for Learning

"'Failure Is Not an Option' is more than an audicious slogan; it is a carefully drawn road map to creating successful schools, even in the most challenging contexts. Alan Blankstein describes 10 familiar paths to failure that raise critical cautions for education reformers, and then systematically outlines six key elements to support excellent and equitable schools. He offers vivid examples, cases, and strategies, buttressed by research and the wisdom of practice, to enable committed educators to work effectively to reinvent schools. Everyone who cares about the future of public education should read this book."

Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education
Stanford University

"Alan Blankstein has written the new handbook for school transformation. Failure Is Not an Option lays out a road map for educators aspiring to create a great public school. In this richly researched book, Blankstein writes in clear, accessible prose about ideas that work. Blankstein’s six principles form the scaffold for improvement plans, and the book is chock full of how-to tips based on the experiences of real educators in real schools. Blankstein is an unabashed cheerleader of the talents of the men and women who lead and teach in America’s schools. He reminds educators that, while change takes sustained, hard work, it can start right now, with something as simple as a warm welcome to each student every day. This book will be easy for educators to pick up again and again to review, re-read, and renew their own commitments to make sure that failure is not an option for any student."

John Wilson, Executive Director
National Education Association

"There is something special when you witness a school that has changed the way it does business. Those places are remarkable examples of what is possible for every child when 'failure is not an option.' This books chronicles the many stories and illuminates the pathway to high performance so that others can muster the courage to do what is right for every student. As a strong proponent of teacher leadership, networks, and the power of teams, I applaud this book for its passionate ideas and forceful strategies. We can no longer wait for someone else to make the change happen, we must join forces to make success the norm for all and this book is a valuable asset in that endeavor."

Deborah Kasak, Executive Director
National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform

"Rich in new examples, more relevant research, and great stories of success. This second look at comprehensive school improvement adds even more practical wisdom and concrete ideas for making schools better. It is readable, accessible, and useful to every level and every leader in schools."

Kent D. Peterson, Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.